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What Is the Six Strikes Program And What Does It Mean For Your Torrenting Activity?

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The Six Strikes Program or “Six Strikes Law” is a joint initiative between Center for Copyright Information, copyright holders (such as MPAA and RIAA) and Internet Service Providers. Officially known as the Copyright Alert System (CAS), the program is designed to fight online piracy by clamping down on peer to peer sharing and torrenting activities. The system is a big step forward as far as the fight against piracy is concerned since the copyright holders failed to roll out the reviled SOPA and PIPA legislation’s in 2012. The program is designed to educate users about copyright violations and it doesn’t prescribe extreme penalties like lawsuits or permanent suspension of user accounts.

Even though the Six Strikes Program has laid down the basic objectives of the system, the implementation part is left to the discretion of the Internet Service Provider (ISP). This explains why every major ISP has come up with its own set of rules as far as enforcing the CAS system is concerned. Let us take a look at how five different ISPs have rolled out the 6 Strikes Program:

1. Comcast’s 6 Strikes Program
Comcast has devised a system which will send a more pronounced warning message with each copyright violation. The company will deliver in-browser message for each violation that can only be removed by logging into Comcast account. After 4 warning messages have been served, the customers will see a permanent warning message in their browser window that can only be removed by calling the company’s Security Assurance Team.

2. AT&T’s 6 Strikes Program
AT&T has chosen to implement a milder version of the CAS system with a focus on educating customers about copyright infringement. The company will send a warning message each time a user’s account is used to share copyrighted material. After 4 warnings have been served, the users will have to educate themselves on matters related to sharing of copyrighted content before they are allowed to surf the web in a normal way.

3. Cablevision’s 6 Strikes Program
Cablevision has rolled out a strict form of Six Strikes program that involves disruptions and disconnections for those who share copyrighted content. The company will send warning messages for copyright violations and if a user doesn’t stop sharing files, his connection will be suspended unless he calls Cablevision’s team. The customer will also have to pay money to appeal against the company’s alerts but the company will refund it if the customer is proven right.

4. Time Warner’s 6 Strikes Program
Time Warner will send warning messages to those customers who indulge in sharing of copyrighted files. If the warning messages are ignored, the users’ browser will be locked until they call Time Warner’s team. The company’s representatives will educate the users about the legality of sharing of copyrighted material before removing the browser lock.

5. Verizon’s 6 Strikes Program
Verizon is the only company that has decided to throttle speed as a part of its Six Strikes implementation. Like other ISPs, the company will send warning messages for copyright violations and if they are ignored, the user’s internet speed will be capped at 256 KBPS. The throttling may last up to 3 days after the sixth warning message and the user will have to appeal against the company’s alerts by paying a small fees.

So What Can You Do About the Six Strikes Program?

Even though there are several ways to deal with the Six Strikes program, using a virtual private network is without doubt the safest way to beat the system. Additionally, since the ISPs may or may not tell you if they believe you are in violation initially, it is quite possible that even heavy internet usage could trick their systems in believing that you are torrenting (even if you are not). A VPN uses a very high level of encryption to protect your privacy at all times so even your ISP won’t be able to monitor your online activities. Plus you don’t have to compromise on speed while using a VPN which means you are free to carry on with your usual web based activities. If you want to beat the Six Strikes program then check out the VPN plans offered by HideMyAss, proXPN, StrongVPN, HideIPVPN and IPVanish since these providers offer excellent value for money.

April 9, 2013

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